Governor calls for federal
action against fish farming
September 10, 2004
Alaska Governor Frank H. Murkowski is asking the U.S. Department
of Commerce for a five-year moratorium on new finfish farming
and for other concessions before considering any changes to encourage
aquaculture in federal waters.
In Alaska, coastal communities
have traditionally lived off the bountiful fish resources of
our sea and marine finfish farming threatens that livelihood
as well as consumer confidence in wild Alaska salmon, Murkowski
Commerce officials are considering
federal changes to promote fish farming within the Exclusive
Economic Zone, a band of federal waters that begins three miles
offshore and extends out to 200 miles. Currently, fish farming
is regulated by states within their own waters.
Alaska, which has the largest
wild capture fishing industry in the United States, provides
the nation with half of its seafood catch. Alaska contains half
of the nations EEZ waters and its fishermen are already suffering
from the damaging effects of foreign salmon farms.
Governor Murkowski is asking
U.S. Commerce Secretary Don Evans to take the following action:
- Place a five-year moratorium
on new finfish aquaculture operations to allow adequate scientific
research on the environmental and socio-economic impacts of fish
farming. This would also give the public and the fishing industry
the opportunity to adjust to changing markets, observe and comment
on policy changes.
? Give state governors a substantial role in determining what
types of aquaculture activities occur in waters off their coastlines.
- Approve a statutory prohibition
on aquaculture of salmon and some other species. Experience in
Chile, Canada and other countries shows salmon farming is environmentally
damaging and escapement threatens native fish stocks with disease
- Regional Fisheries Management
Councils should be tasked with evaluating information gathered
and research conducted in order to assess the potential impacts
and benefits of fish farming on federal waters. Each RFMC should
be allowed to determine whether the moratorium should be lifted
for the region over which it has authority.
The administration plans to
hold town hall meetings with Alaska fishermen on fish farming
Nov. 12th in Seattle during the Pacific Marine Expo and again
in Anchorage in February 2005.
Governor Murkowski also made
similar comments to the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. His
comments can be found at: http://www.state.ak.us/local/oceansreport.htm.
Source of News Release:
Office of the Governor
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